Health & Safety for B & B's

Hi All.

I'm after some advice... in the UK if you are renting out more than 4 rooms you need fire doors, fire exits etc. etc.... is it the same in france???

any advice would be welcome



For the ERP-regulations they will look at the Maison d'Hôtes and the total capacity under the same roof, which includes the lodgings of the owner and family. This is how B&B's get their theoretical maximum of 5 rooms to let: 5 x 2,3 (average capacity) for your guestrooms, will leave a room or two for you and your family. If you have a large family you can just let out the remaining capacity of 14 to stay within the limits of the B&B - private home - regulations. The configuration of your B&B is not important; you can have 7 single rooms if you want.

15 or more beds, even if you don't use them, automatically forces you into ERP-regulations which do not only regulate fire exits and fire extinguishers but also the materials of your bedding and interior decorations. Just calculate what is convenient for you.

The links:,13420.html

Good Morning Theo.

If we were to hire it out as a holiday let - The maximum would be 15 but running it as a B & B do you have to count where your family sleeps as well......

realistically - running it as a B & B it will have 6 double bedrooms with at least 3 single's possible 4 etc. so with our accommodation that will just take it over 15....

you have given me something to think about Theo... Thats very useful info so thanks.

Hello Christine,

The regulations you talk about are ERP regulations. 'Établissement Recevant du Publique'. These regulations are in place on all buildings that can accommodate 15 or more people at the same time. When you run a Chambre d'Hôtes (B&B) by definition these rules do not apply because as a CdH the capacity of your home - guestrooms and your own lodgins - may not exeed 15 persons. If you do, ERP regulations are in order and you are not a CdH anymore but more something like a hotel. Mind, that if you have a fire and the pompiers find more than 14 beds - even when they are not used - you risk your insurance won't pay and you will be fined because you did not abide with the rules. The ERP-regulations also apply for holiday homes that can sleep more than 14 people.

A Chambres d'Hôtes is considered to be a private home. In priciple you can do what you want exept the law demands that you act like a responsable person. Does your property sleep more than 14 and you are renting out? Go to the local Marie and ask what to do. The Pompiers will come and visit and tell you what to do.

Best of luck.

Dear Christine,

The FRench require much; you can contact your local Office de Tourisme or go directly to Gites de France. They will send an inspector to tell you what you need. Be on alert - they will ask you to do more than you want to. Many feel they require too much. There is another organization that will inspect, too. I can't remember the name, but this is where the Office de Tourisme comes in handy. Good luck!


Christine - if in doubt, ask the pompiers before you start - they are always very helpful.


wow - thanks for that Roger - we will definitely be staying below 5 - probably 4 actually. We will have one downstairs which will have immediate access to outside - and at least 3 upstairs... I am comfortable with the general must haves and I think I'll get emergency rope ladders for the upstairs rooms as I have them where I live now... as you said Wendy - it's a case of do what you would do in your own home to ensure you were all safe... I'm so please I don't need fire doors... cos they are expensive in UK let alone in France

thanks for the info everyone



Christine - We have seven rooms in our establishment. I can tell you from experience that FIVE is the "magic" number. Once you go past that you are in a whole new ball game. We had to become a HOTEL with ALL the regulations that entails. And if you have more floors than just the ground and first floor things get even stricter with external metal fire escapes etc. Unless you have a LOT of money for the project, stay with the maximum of five. We were "assigned" an inspector for the whole of the construction process. His services alone were 1000 euros. All the electrics have to be professionally inspected - another 1000. The final inspection of the property, prior to our opening involved the visit of a 13-strong committee - all with clip-boards - pompiers, gendarmerie, mairie, department etc etc. Just to give you a taster of the costs, fire doors cost us 3500 euros. Special emergency exit signs were another 2000. 18mm plasterboard, apart from being very difficult to work with due to the weight is hugely expensive. Floor voids must be completely filled with fire-retardant insulation with no paper backing or gaps allowed. There has to be a one-metre opening window at the top of the staircase that can be operated from the ground floor. etc etc etc etc. Let me know if you need to know more.


I own a Gite next to my house, I have it equipped with a fire extinguisher, fire blanket, smoke detector, gas detector and carbon monoxide detector. Nobody advised me to put these things in, it was just common sense and I have the same things in my own house. I have insurance for up to 5 guests. On arrival the first thing I do is to go through the safety procedures, even before they bring in their cases, it's really important to protect them and oneself.

Hi Christine,

I run B&B and am ashamed to say I have no idea what the actual LAW is on this subject. But I have fire extinguishers and smoke detectors and got advice from the external company who came to service the fire extinguishers. I also had an inspection by the local Office de Tourisme who seemed happy with everything I had in place. And I have insurance specifically for chambres d'hotes.

I don't have a fire escape. But, and don't take this as law, I think I'd be right in saying that one of the key differences between chambres d'hotes and hotels are that guests in chambres d'hotes are staying in the owners' residence and therefore the regulations are different to those required by hotels. Would a normal house have a fire escape? No. But I do think smoke detectors are an absolute 'must'.

Christine...35 DEGREES in sunny Moncaret/Gensac

We have fire extinguishers...blanket.Smoke detecter.

Insurance cover for what we do.

Permission from the Marie.

A LISCENCE which the accountant arranged for us.

More than 5 rooms is classified as a hotel and requires tighter


Electrics need to be hunky dory.

Thanks Carol - I thought this would be the case but just wanted to check as no one has ever mentioned it over there, and when I've stayed in B & B's or gites I haven't had anything explained to me or even seen a fire extinguisher in the gite... which surprises me...